March 20, 2013

Thai Yellow Curry and Spicy Cucumber Salad.

My love for Thai food came to be when I lived in Redlands, California while attending the University of Redlands for college. Redlands holds a special place in my heart... It is where I had the best job of my life with the greatest people, where I met my man (I'll save that story for another time), and where I could spend all day reading outside under big trees.

thai yellow curry cucumber salad

I loved college and I loved Redlands, but there wasn't a whole lot to do outside of college parties and outdoorsie stuff, even the 7-11 closed at 11!  But for some reason, this small town had about 7 different Thai restaurants... I don't really know why it was so concentrated there... I couldn't get an authentic Mexican meal to save my life, but the Thai food was in abundance. .

spicy thai cucumber salad

I first fell in love with Drunken Noodles or Pad Kee Mao, but then I discovered Yellow Curry... extra spicy. I could eat it every day.

cucumber salad

I also was never a fan of cucumbers until eating Thai food either.  Cucumbers always seemed good, in theory, but I never could get myself to enjoy a thick slice of cucumber in a salad, or otherwise. The thin sliced cucumber in a Thai Cucumber Salad looked so tempting, I just had to try it.  Not to mention, that I love vinegar.  The sweet, spicy, vinegariness of this cold salad was the perfect complement to my hot and spicy curry.

cucumber salad ingredientsvinegar dressing

We have since moved away from Redlands, and I've found a few Thai places that I like, but none that I love like my favorite spot in Redlands, Thai House. I don't know if the food is less than or if it is the nostalgia and memories that are lacking. Either way, I started to learn how to make my favorite yellow curry at home, it's still not perfected, but it does the job.

thai yellow curry ingredients

Now, I like my Thai really spicy. So if you would like a more mild flavor limit to amount of red pepper flake or chilies that you use.

yellow curry yellow curry

So my dinner was vegetarian tonight, but not necessarily by choice. I had every intention to make my curry with chicken, but it got lost somewhere between the checkout stand and my kitchen!! Don't worry I searched my trunk to be sure it wasn't in there! Instead of running back to the store, I simply added more veggies.  To be honest, I really kinda missed the chicken.

yellow curry

Cucumber Salad

Adapted from a recipe from use real butter

4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flake
2-3 cucumbers (depending on size), roughly peeled, gutted and sliced very thin
1-2 hot chilies (I used serrannos because my grocery store doesn't carry thai bird chilies)
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Combine the sugar, water, vinegar, salt and red pepper flake in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add the cucumber, chilies, onion, and cilantro to a medium sized bowl.  Pour dressing over the top and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  This salad will only get better with time.

Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken

1 1/2 cans coconut milk
3 tbsp curry paste (my market only had red)
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound chicken breast, sliced thin
1-2 cups chicken stock or water
1 pound Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into med-large cubes
3 carrots, peeled and cut the same size as the potatoes
1 onion, sliced
1-2 serranno chilies, seeded and chopped very thin
1 tbsp palm sugar (no palm sugar... I substituted brown sugar, because I heard that was its closest substitute)

Pour 1/2 the can of coconut milk into a large pot over high heat Allow it to start bubbling and add 2 tbsp of the curry paste and mix well. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink. Add the chicken stock, the rest of the coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder and salt. Bring to a bubble and add the potatoes, carrots and onion. Add the palm sugar and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender. 

Serve with a side of coconut rice. I used the left over coconut milk and added that to my rice.  


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